Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Stroke Survival~ Having Fun Yet and Playing with Food

I'm embracing my one handedness in the kitchen. Well sort of, I'm playing. Do you remember how your mother chastised you when you were younger for playing with your food? I know mine did. That's something I never did to my children or grandchildren. I encourage it.

I have some very strong feelings on this matter.  I'm a chef because I love to play with food. I taught my retarded daughter fractions, reading, and what things felt like and tasted like by encouraging her to play with food. This same daughter was a pastry chef at a five star-five diamond resort, and still loves to play with food and different textures. She in turn encourages all children to play with food.

She received high praise from her boss for teaching a bunch of children (50) to build their own gingerbread houses. No parents were allowed into the class, and she made sure they were as clean as when the class started when it was over. He presented her with her very own Henckel chef's knife. If you are not familiar with this brand of knife, this is the Porche of knives. But I digress. What can I say, I'm a proud momma.

My DH (darling hubby) bought me a cake pop maker for Christmas as I mentioned last Sunday. I've been playing with it ever since. When you have one working hand anything you can pick up and eat is easier. With these at most, it's two bites and you get another.

Now you know me, Mrs. Abby Normal. I can't leave well enough alone. I start searching the web for other things I can make with this nifty new toy. For Christmas, I made penguin decorated cake pops. I didn't bother with the lollipop sticks because they looked cute on a layer of cotton candy snow on a plate. I also made a large vase full of Christmas ornaments decorated cake pops. (I got the direction online) I also made some reindeer. Nobody could believe I did it with one hand.

No roast beast with all the fixings, just some pop in your mouth desserts. Now, making them seven at a time was a bit of a hardship, but I was playing and having fun. It was an affirmation what I could do one handed.

But since then, I have been experimenting. I've made corn dogs by slicing a hot dog and then quartering each slice, and a box of cornbread mix. I use Martha White because Jiffy is just too sweet. Two hot dogs was all it took. My DH gave me the ultimate praise when he said they reminded him of the corn dog street vendors in New York City. The good vendors do not use frozen corn dogs. He and I used to live up in the northern and northern Midwest States, and then transplanted to south Georgia. A little mustard to dip them in and some tater tots and we had a meal in the time it took the tater tots to cook. No nasty grease to clog the arteries either.

Bisquick has a recipe for sausage balls as an appetizer on their website. Since I'm allergic to pork, I substituted turkey sausage, low fat grated cheddar cheese, and some rehydrated dry, minced onions. All I can say is, "OMG!" I've also made pancake and turkey bacon balls, cinnamon rolls (balls), blueberry muffin balls, and am still playing with the machine.

The Rubbermaid mixing bowls with the pour spout has a rubber grip on the bottom and makes a wonderful hand mixing bowl. It doesn't move stirring with one hand. If all else fails there is the Dycem mat. Muffins don't like mixers. They tend to get tough. Oh, did I mention I'm having fun? Yeah, I did and am. My writer brain started churning again. What else could be made in this little machine? Would there be a market for the recipes? Hm, another book? Possibly. Beyond Cake Pops is in the recipe testing stages. I've never written a cookbook before although many have asked me to. I'll never say never where writing is concerned anymore.

On Christmas day, the look in my father's eyes when I propped my cane against a bar stool and walked to him will always be held close to my heart. I have been practicing around my house for weeks. There haven't been too many times in my life when I've seen tears well up in his eyes, but this was one of them. He made a point to brush them aside and tell me to sit down before I fell down, but I could tell he was proud. It was something he never thought he would see again.

So I've turned the corner and accepted my one-handedness, not that it's forever. I still hold out hope that I may get it back, but until then, I'm becoming more handi-capable each day and doing some of the things I love to do. I'm still doing dishes in my bathroom sink. I tried doing them in a dishpan without good results. I made some new potholders for my kitchen using my left handed scissors and my sewing machine. My old ones seem to have been eaten by my daughter's washing, I haven't tackled the laundry yet.

So I'm taking it slow and easy because my energy level is still low, and combined with the heavy doses of muscle relaxers, it's a no win situation. Seven months post stroke and counting. This week I've hit the 32K word mark on the rough draft of Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad so the book is progressing one experience at a time. Still a mess as far as organization, but that too will change.

Next year, I had planned to buy back all my previously published copyrighted books, but that too is on hold indefinitely. Paying for therapy is #1. My focus for the coming year is to finish this book, maybe, and recover as much as I can.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


  1. Hurrah!!!! Go, Jo, Go! You're teaching everyone so much with your stroke recovery. I love every new post about it.

    1. It proves you can teach an old dog new tricks.

  2. You are so creative. I could have used your cookbook five years ago when I was a part of a womens' circle that included a potluck dinner.

    1. Rebecca,
      Thank you. As I understand from your blog, it is just you in your house. You could use the cookbook. For us it's just the two of us most times so small amounts are great. That's one of the reasons he bought the machine for me. It just plain made financial and portion size sense.


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